Many people in China have turned to video games to pass time as the coronavirus outbreak keeps cities locked down. And some gamers are finding creative uses for their time. Multiple Minecraft players have taken to digitally recreating the construction of new medical centers in Wuhan that were rapidly erected to help fight the spread of the deadly Covid-19 disease.
Earlier this month, two temporary medical centers were built in just over a week in the central city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. As many as 40 million people reportedly tuned in to a live stream of thousands of workers toiling day and night to build the structures from the ground up.
To pay tribute to these projects, Chinese Minecraft players recreated the medical centers in the game using blueprints of the two buildings that the government made available online.
One Minecraft art group named the Ancient Stone was among the first to have recreated the Huoshenshan and Leishenshan medical centers. In reality, the two facilities together span over 113,000 square meters (1.2 million square feet) and can provide more than 2,500 beds. The group didn’t say how many blocks it took to recreate the buildings in Minecraft.
Still, a video the Ancient Stone released on Bilibili shows a detailed (albeit blocky) digital structure that appears to be surprisingly faithful to the actual buildings. The virtual recreations include intensive-care units, patient wards, and hundreds of medical professionals.
The project also appears to have followed the same sequence of events used in building the real medical centers. The Minecraft copies started with dozens of bulldozers clearing out a barren field, which was followed by a fleet of cranes coming in and laying down prefabricated materials at the site.
Two other Minecraft players have also taken on this challenge. A member of the group Minehero was said to have completed recreating the hospitals in just a few days. And Minecraft creator June-Fu put together digital replicas, too.
China has long had a vibrant and active Minecraft community. The game, published by NetEase in China, reportedly had nearly 300 million registered users by last November. In recent years, works from Chinese Minecraft enthusiasts have caught the attention of Minecraft fans worldwide. One of these includes a massive Blade Runner-style cyberpunk city made with more than 370 million blocks.
While the efforts to recreate Wuhan’s new medical centers were started by gamers themselves, Minecraft’s development team in China also introduced replicas of two of China’s leading respiratory medical centers. Players can visit these centers and get free information about infectious viruses.
The development team said that players who visit these medical centers will be quizzed on their knowledge about respiratory diseases and where to seek help in a hospital for anyone exhibiting symptoms.
Minecraft said that the aim of the project is to educate teenage gamers about infectious diseases and offer tips and tricks about how to properly wear a mask in real life.